Dem 51
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GOP 49
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New Ranking of Presidents: Biden is #14, Trump is #45

The Presidents and Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association surveyed its members about presidential greatness. The 525 members were asked to score each president from 0 (failure) to 100 (great). Here are the results:

Rank President 2024 Rating
1 Abraham Lincoln 93.87
2 Franklin D. Roosevelt 90.83
3 George Washington 90.32
4 Theodore Roosevelt 78.58
5 Thomas Jefferson 77.53
6 Harry S. Truman 75.34
7 Barack Obama 73.80
8 Dwight D. Eisenhower 73.73
9 Lyndon B. Johnson 72.86
10 John F. Kennedy 68.37
11 James Madison 67.16
12 Bill Clinton 66.42
13 John Adams 62.66
14 Joe Biden 62.66
15 Woodrow Wilson 61.80
16 Ronald Reagan 61.62
17 Ulysses S. Grant 60.93
18 James Monroe 60.15
19 George H.W. Bush 58.54
20 John Quincy Adams 55.41
21 Andrew Jackson 54.70
22 Jimmy Carter 54.26
23 William Howard Taft 51.67
24 William McKinley 51.23
25 James K. Polk 49.83
26 Grover Cleveland 48.31
27 Gerald Ford 46.09
28 Martin Van Buren 45.46
29 Rutherford Hayes 41.15
30 James Garfield 40.98
31 Benjamin Harrison 40.64
32 George W. Bush 40.43
33 Chester Arthur 39.61
34 Calvin Coolidge 39.38
35 Richard Nixon 36.41
36 Herbert Hoover 34.08
37 John Tyler 32.99
38 Zachary Taylor 32.97
39 Millard Fillmore 30.33
40 Warren Harding 27.76
41 William Henry Harrison 26.01
42 Franklin Pierce 24.60
43 Andrew Johnson 21.56
44 James Buchanan 16.71
45 Donald Trump 10.92

The members of the APSA clearly skew very Democratic. In the top 15, every president in the past 100 years but one (Eisenhower) is a Democrat. Nevertheless, the ratings have some useful information. For example, Barack Obama ranks above Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden, despite Obama having signed only one bill of consequence (the ACA) and Johnson having signed many. A lot of this is probably because, except for the all-time greats, newer presidents tend to outrank older ones because everyone has forgotten a lot of what the older ones did.

The page linked to above also breaks down the ratings and numerical scores by partisanship of the member doing the rating. So it is interesting that among Republican members of the APSA, Joe Biden ranks 30th and Trump ranks 41st, higher only than W.H. Harrison, Pierce, A. Johnson and Buchanan. The Republican members' top five are: Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan, in that order. The only post-World War II Democratic president not in the top third is Jimmy Carter at 27. Among members who call themselves conservatives, Biden ranks 30th and Trump ranks 43rd, beating only Pierce and Buchanan. The conservatives' top five are: Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson, and Reagan. Interestingly enough, they ranked Clinton, Kennedy, LBJ, and Obama as 10, 11, 12, and 13, respectively, all in the top third.

Among self-identified Democrats, Biden is 13 and Trump is 45. Their top five are: Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Jefferson. Among liberals, Biden is also 13 and Trump is 45. Their top five are: Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Jefferson.

The conclusions here are that the APSA skews heavily Democratic, but even among Republican and conservative members, Biden is viewed as a far better president than Trump and every post-WWII Democratic president is rated much higher than Trump. If you want to download the table to see all the ratings by the partisanship of the person doing the rating, here it is in .csv format. (V)

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